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Category — Taliban

American woman freed from Taliban captivity describes brutal treatment

Report in Pakistan Today, Nov 21, 2017
NEW YORK: A US mother held hostage by Taliban-linked militants for five years has detailed the violence and sexual assault she said she endured in captivity, and regretted that her young son was also beaten.

“This was an intolerable situation for a child to be in,” Caitlan Coleman Boyle, 31, told ABC News in a television interview broadcast on Monday.

Coleman Boyle gave birth to three children in captivity. She and her Canadian husband were abducted by the Haqqani network while travelling through a remote area of Afghanistan — for reasons that remain unclear — in 2012.

The family were released last month in Pakistan and are now trying to rebuild their lives in Canada.

She said their guards “could be very violent, even sometimes with the children,” assaulting their now four-year-old son with a stick, and hitting her and her husband.

“I would get beaten or hit or thrown on the ground,” she told ABC News. She broke a cheekbone and three fingers while intervening to protect the children, her husband, Joshua Boyle, 34, told ABC.

They made toys out of bottle caps and bits of cardboard and fearing the family could be beheaded, they made up a game based on England’s Charles I, who was executed in 1649, and Oliver Cromwell, she said.

“Obviously with people like this, the idea of a beheading is always on the table, so he certainly knew that this type of thing could happen to his family but then we would come up with games to make it not seem so scary,” she said.

“He had great fun pretending to be Oliver Cromwell and chasing Charles I around and trying to behead him,” she said. “We made it a game so that he wasn’t afraid.”

After the family returned to Canada last month, Boyle, 34, accused his kidnappers of murdering an infant daughter through a “forced abortion” and of raping his wife.

“They came into the cell, and they took my husband out forcibly, dragging him out, and one of the guards threw me down on the ground, hitting me and shouting `I will kill you, I will kill you’” she said.

“And that’s when the assault happened. It was with two men. And then there was a third at the door. And afterwards, the animals wouldn’t even give me back my clothes.”

November 21, 2017   No Comments

Taliban resurgence in S Waziristan: edits,Nov 16, 2017

Taliban resurgence?: Editorial in Dawn, November 16th, 2017
EIGHT years ago, Operation Rah-i-Nijat was launched to free South Waziristan Agency from the grip of the Pakistani Taliban. It was a massive operation and countless sacrifices were made, but eventually the state’s writ was established in the militancy-infested parts.It would take many more years for IDPs from the agency to be allowed to go back, but this year a semblance of normality appeared to be returning to South Waziristan.However, the return of the local populace has brought with it a resurgence of the Taliban, a worrying development for South Waziristan and the wider Fata region. As reported in this newspaper yesterday, the Commander Nazir Group, a Wana-based Taliban faction, is, under the guise of a local peace committee, attempting to ban social and cultural activities in parts of the agency and restrict women’s movement.The measures hearken back to the early days of the Taliban takeover in various parts of Fata — a disturbing reminder that peace in the region remains elusive, however much the local political administration may try to downplay the events.

Part of the problem is that the Commander Nazir Group was never fully dismantled in South Waziristan, despite major operations in Wana and the Mehsud-dominated regions of the agency.Militant leaders belonging to the group are reported to have their own areas of jurisdiction to settle personal, family and property disputes and to impose fines and penalties — brazenly bypassing political authorities and effectively establishing parallel administrative systems.Some members of the Commander Nazir Group are believed to even operate their own prisons. While there is only one known check-post that the group is currently operating, it has been seen patrolling other parts of South Waziristan.If their activities are not quickly curtailed, the group may feel emboldened to return with force in Wana and even spread its operations to other areas. The state must respond quickly and firmly to the incipient return of the Taliban.

Also necessary is for the recently returned populations to be told that they will be protected — and for vulnerable members of all communities to be assured of their rights.Women in particular face pressures from both sides, with a jirga held in South Waziristan in September announcing curbs on women’s liberties.The rise of the Taliban in Fata and the many military operations that have been conducted to clear the region of them have made clear that the area cannot be allowed to return to a pre-Taliban era.The region must be progressively brought to a par with the rest of Pakistan socially, economically, politically and administratively.No group — not the Taliban nor other regressive elements in Fata — should be allowed to curb the rights of anyone there. Certainly, the challenges are many and the path to normality will be long — but there must be zero tolerance for vigilantism and non-state justice. https://www.dawn.com/news/1370790/taliban-resurgence

New avatar, same goals: edit in The Express Tribune, Nov 16th, 2017.

Under the less menacing avatar of a peace committee, the Taliban seem to have made a sudden reappearance in Wana, the largest town of South Waziristan tribal agency, several years after being evicted from the area by the security forces. As soon as the Taliban faction showed up, restrictions were imposed on cultural and social activities as well as the movement of women. Apparently prior notice had been given by the so-called peace committee to the inhabitants of Wana under a set of sweeping regulations. It is anybody’s guess how social and cultural events or for that matter women travelling without a male escort could come under the domain of a peace committee. Pamphlets circulated by the group said that women would not be allowed to visit clinics or venture into the market without male members of their family. Male residents have been forced to adhere to a kind of night curfew all in the interest of discouraging vice.

The committee appears to have bitten a whole lot more than it can chew, outlawing the playing of music and the traditional atan which is performed at weddings and other festive occasions. Violators have been warned of dire consequences if they don’t abide by the regulations — hardly the kind of tactics that a peace committee is expected to employ. Committee members claim that many tribal elders have endorsed their regulations.

Despite the harshness of their measures, the group has met with virtually no resistance from the political agents or the local authorities. The Taliban thrived here before 2009 because few dared to stand up to them. When important segments of society neglect their duties the writ of the state can only crumble. To ensure things don’t deteriorate at warp speed and Taliban-style laws are not imposed upon the people of Wana and elsewhere, the state will have to confront the committee, not embolden it. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1559431/6-new-avatar-goals/

Taliban footprint in Wana: edit in Pakistan Today online, Nov 15, 2017
Troubling news reports about some peace committee trying to enforce Taliban style curbs on social and cultural activities in Wana, South Waziristan, are made much worse by the official machinery’s apparent ignorance about the development, or reluctance to comment on it. Banning music, traditional dance, and the movement of women (unless accompanied by male family members) is a throwback to the darkest days of TTP’s hold over fata, especially Waziristan. But we have been told, for quite some time now, that not just south, but also North Waziristan is now pretty secure. There are, obviously, strict controls on civilian movement in and out of all agencies. How, then, could this mysterious peace committee organise on such a scale; allegedly involving ulema from across the area and even naming an amir?
That the so called peace committee is, reportedly, headed by a former deputy of South Waziristan’s old strongman Mullah Nazir only raises further questions. Nazir, who was killed by a drone strike in ’13, was once prominent among the ‘good Taliban’, and was locked in intense battle with Hakeemullah Mehsud who was then head of TTP. Are these committees, then, part of those former fighters who have been ‘cleaned’ and slowly incorporated into the mainstream?
There is an urgent need to address certain crucial elements about fata. One, who is really running the show? Is the military calling all the shots or is the government also involved? Two, why is no thought given to arranging elections and giving locals the power to govern, especially now that pace has been established? Three, what will it take for the government to finally make some movement on fata reforms? And four, how could a so called peace committee flex Taliban style muscles at such a sensitive time and cause panic among the people? Those in charge are required to bring urgent clarity to the situation. Losing the gains of the battle will only make us go round in circles.www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/11/15/taliban-footprint-in-wana/

November 16, 2017   No Comments

TTP-JuA splits and analysts call it a good omen

By Riaz Ahmad in The Express Tribune Published: November 14, 2017
PESHAWAR: A breakaway faction of an outlawed umbrella of terrorist organisations has split in a development analysts believe will further weaken the bloody insurgency in Pakistan.

Some key commanders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JuA) have formed Hizbul Ahrar after developing differences with the group chief Abdul Wali, commonly known by his nom de guerre Omar Khalid Khorsani.

The rumoured split was confirmed after a series of videos surfaced on social media and were shared with the mainstream media by the terrorist group.

A few weeks ago a video surfaced on social media in which Mukaram Khan Mohmand was seen claiming that he has survived an attempt on his life.

This video was followed by a purported audio message from Mukaram in which he blamed the Khorasani-led TTP-JuA of committing un-Islamic acts, particularly targeting of civilians, like the Wagah border bombing and the massacre of Christians at a Lahore park.

Another video was released to the media, on Monday night, in which a group of key terrorist commanders could be seen swearing their allegiance to Hizbul Ahrar chief Mukarram Mohmand.

These commanders include Rashid, Qari Ismail Afridi, Muslim Yar and Jihad Yar. The last one, Jihad Yar, was the head of military Shura of Khorasani’s TTP-JuA.

“Jihad Yar was the head of the military Shura and we were its members. Now we’re joining the newly formed group under the leadership of Mukaram Khan,” said Commander Ismail Afridi in the video.

Terrorism experts say that there is always a tug of war in terrorist groups leading to factionalism.

“It’s the nature of the guerilla outfits that the second-in-command or the third-in-command aspire to take charge and this always benefits the country where these groups are active,” says Dr Tuqir-ur-Rehman, who holds a PHD in Political Science.

“The militant groups with no political face also encounter problems, such as the Palestinian Liberation Organisation which was made up of several groups, so it ultimately benefited Israel,” he said.

“It [breakup of TTP-JuA] is a good omen. The split will ultimately impact the group’s ability to mount large-scale attacks,” he added.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1558101/1-ttp-jua-splits-and-analysts-call-it-a-good-omen/

November 15, 2017   No Comments

Terror alert issued for Parachinar: report in Dawn, Nov 15th, 2017

PARACHINAR: Authorities have issued a terror alert for headquarters of the Kurram Agency, warning tribesmen to be extra vigilant to prevent a possible attack in the area.

“There is a great need for vigilance to keep all sensitive places, including important buildings, hospitals and schools, under strict check,” said the alert notice issued here on Tuesday.

Uncertainty looms large in Kurram Agency following a series of terrorist attacks in the area. Only recently, 74 people were killed and 300 others injured in twin blasts here on June 23.

Officials said that political administration and security agencies issued a ‘red alert’ after receiving reports about a suicide bomber identified as Talha, who walked with a limp as he had lost a leg in an improvised explosive device blast.

They said that the suspected bomber was a member of a banned terrorist group, Jamaatul Ahrar, which had previously claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks in Kurram valley.

Officials said that the bomber had sneaked into Kurram Agency from Khost province of Afghanistan.

The authorities suggested “extreme vigilance” and said tough security measures should be taken in the region. They also released a photo of the suspected bomber.

Officials of the political administration said that soon after receiving the reports they asked the locals — particularly those residing near the border — to enhance security near their areas, adding that law-enforcement agencies have tightened security in the town. https://www.dawn.com/news/1370591/terror-alert-issued-for-parachinar

November 15, 2017   No Comments

‘Peace committee’ slaps Taliban-style curbs on Wana

Report in Dawn, November 15th, 2017
WANA: A faction of the Taliban has apparently made a comeback to Wana, South Waziristan Agency, under the guise of a peace committee and placed a ban on cultural and social activities and put restrictions on movement of women outside their homes without male members of their family.

The so-called peace committee has issued tough guidelines through pamphlets in Wana town and warned local people to abide by these rules otherwise violators would face repercussions, according to sources.

The committee has banned music, athan, a traditional dance which is performed in wedding ceremonies or other festive occasions, and use of narcotics.

According to the committee’s guidelines, those activities which promote immorality or violate Islamic teachings would not be permitted on these occasions.

Movement of women outside their homes has been restricted. The pamphlets said that women would not be allowed to visit market and clinic or faith healers without adult male members of their family, including husbands and brothers.

Salahuddin alias Ayubi, a successor of Mullah Muhammad Nazir — an influential Taliban leader — heads the committee.

Mullah Nazir was killed along with his 10 associates in a US drone strike in the Birmil area of South Wazi­ristan Agency in January 2013.

South Waziristan Agency became a hotbed of Talibanisation in 2003 that spilled over to other tribal agencies of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Local leaders of various Taliban factions had established parallel administration in the area.

Nek Muhammad emerged as the leader of these factions. Security forces carried out multiple operations in the area to crush Taliban and establish the writ of the state. Finally Nek Muhammad signed a peace deal with the government in Shakai. He was killed in a missile attack in 2004.

According to the pamphlets, residents are not allowed to stay outside their homes at public places after 10pm. This step would prevent disturbance and noise in the area, it said.

A leaflet issued by the peace committee claimed that elders and Ulema of Karikot, Ghwa Khwa, Sha­heen Warsak, Doog, Dabb Koat, Zari Noor and Sherna had agreed to these steps.

A committee comprising elders and Ulema has been set up to ensure implementation of the ‘code of conduct’ and to identify violators of the guidelines. A local cleric, identified as Ameer Ainullah, has been appointed head of the committee.

The secretary of Fata’s law and order, Hassan Mehmood Yousafzai, when approached in Peshawar, expressed ignorance about the activities of the peace committee in Wana. “I do not have such reports. The political agent is in a better position to talk about the matter,” he said.

Political Agent Zafar Islam and other officials of the administration were not available to comment on the matter.

Fresh displacement

Meanwhile, the Fata Disaster Management Authority has confirmed fresh displacement of civilians from Shaktoi area of South Waziristan Agency.

The displacement took place when the authorities are planning to send all internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their homes in Fata. Around 17,000 displaced families mostly belonging to North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Khyber agencies are waiting for their return.

An official of the authority told Dawn in Peshawar that 208 families had been displaced from Shaktoi area that belonged to Mehsud tribe. He said that these families were evacuated when security forces launched operation in the area adjacent to North Waziristan Agency.

The official said that displaced families had been settled at Bakakhel Camp in Frontier Region Bannu where all basic facilities, including cooked food were being provided. The army has been managing the camp which was established for IDPs of North Waziristan Agency after the launching of Zarb-i-Azb military operation in June, 2014.

“Newly displaced families would be returned to their homes very soon,” said the official, but declined to give a specific date for their return.https://www.dawn.com/news/1370585/peace-committee-slaps-taliban-style-curbs-on-wana

November 15, 2017   No Comments

Hizbul Ahrar takes birth as internal rifts tear Jamaatul Ahrar apart

by SHAMIM SHAHID in Pakistan Today, Nov 13, 2017
PESHAWAR: Jamaatul Ahrar (JA), a splinter group of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is showing signs of internal rifts after its active commanders and fighters announced the establishment of Hizbul Ahrar, with Omar Khurasani as its head.
Mukkaram Khan, famously known as Omar Khurasani, belongs to Mohmand Agency of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Through his first video message released to media on Sunday, Khurasani claimed that Jamaatul Ahrar was involved in anti-Islamic acts committed in the name of jihad, thus compelling them to start their own group.
In this respect, he particularly mentioned terrorist attacks against National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office in Mardan, attack on security forces at Wahga border, attacks in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park Lahore, which claimed the lives of many Christians, and other such attacks carried out around the country.
He said that these terrorist attacks had cost the lives of innocent people, including women and children. In the video Khurasani recalled that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamataul Ahraar (TTPJA) had claimed responsibility for all these deadly attacks.
Khurasani claimed that he had made attempts to bring reforms in the militant group, but failed to achieve any success. He said that it led him take part ways with the JA and create his own group. He accused Khalid Khurasani of attacking him one week back, in which he was also injured.
He claimed that a number of leading commanders have also announced disassociation from the TTPJA, and now they were a part of Hizbul Ahrar. Some important names in the newly created group included, Hizbul Ahrar Military Wing chief Jihadyar Mehsud, Financial Commission head Commander Muslimyar, Political Commission chief Haji Rashid, Mohmand Agency Commander Imran Aurakzai, and Qari Ismael Afridi of Khyber Agency. Khurasani named Aziz Yousafzai as the spokesman for the new militant group.
Through this video message, Khurasani claimed that he and his comrades were determined to continue their ‘jihad’ for the supremacy of Islam and against the United States and its allies. He further claimed that they would not indulge in acts that injured or killed innocent people.
It merits mention here that the TTPJA had been mired with crisis since the past couple of months, after its active spokesperson and confidential aide, namely Qari Ihsanullah Ihsan, surrendered to the government.
Qari Ihsan is now in custody of security forces, but he was allowed to talk to some private news channels soon after his surrender. This move had sent a wave of concern and uncertainty among the parents of students killed in the deadly attack on Army Public School Peshawar on December 16, 2014, who demanded that no airtime should be provided to terrorists, especially under the government’s watch.
Qari Ihsan, during his statement to news channel, had claimed that the banned TTPJA were involved in over a 100 terrorist acts that mostly occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The parents of APS victims and other civil society organisations have been demanding a trail of Qari Ihsan in a military court, in the same manner as other terrorists who have been executed according to the National Action Plan.https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/11/13/hizbul-ahrar-takes-birth-as-internal-rifts-tear-jamaatul-ahrar-apart/

November 13, 2017   No Comments

TTP claims of killing journalist false: police

Report in The Express Tribune, Oct 26, 2017.
PESHAWAR: A journalist, who was gunned down outside his house earlier this month, was not killed by terrorists, despite claims from terror groups.

After Haroon Khan was gunned down in Swabi, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the gun attack. The claim spread fear and panic among locals that terror had returned to the area.

However, a police probe into the murder shows that it was perpetrated by locals over a long-standing property dispute between two families.

“All the evidence and the confessions of those arrested, show that there were no fingerprints of terrorism in the incident,” Swabi DPO Sohaib Ashraf told The Express Tribune, explaining that the modus operandi of target killers affiliated with terror outfits was quite different to the way this particular attack was carried out.

“The weapons [used], which we have recovered, is an AK-47. Target killers only use 9mm pistols,” he said, adding that Haroon was shot eight times all over the body. By contrast, target killers only fire a maximum of three shots to the head or the chest. “Terror outfits usually function during the day, the timing suits them while they will hardly ever target anyone in a blocked alley,” he further explained.

“Terrorists make sure they have an escape route which suggests maximum impact in the least possible time.”

Haroon’s murder, which took place on October 12, attracted condemnation from journalist bodies around the world.

On Tuesday, the Swabi police had arrested Jawad Khan after receiving a tip-off. Jawad is a student at the Hazara University and is the son of the slain journalist’s step-brother.

“He confessed during the investigation that he and his brother were involved in the killing,” DPO Ashraf said.

“I was riding with Fawad on the bike and started firing on our uncle Haroon, with whom we had a land dispute for a long time, and killed him on the spot,” police quoted Jawad’s alleged confession in a statement.

Officials added that they have raided several places to arrest Haroon’s step-brother Muhammad Ali. However, he is on the run and dodged police who made several attempts to arrest him, Swabi DSP Izhar Shah said.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1541465/1-ttp-claims-killing-journalist-false-police/

October 26, 2017   No Comments

Pakistan military admits ISI has links to militants

by Omer Farooq Khan in The Times of India, Oct 6, 2017 at 09:38 IST
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s military on Thursday admitted that its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has links to “militants”, saying this does not mean it supports terrorist organisations, while also asserting that Milli Muslim League — the political wing of banned Jamaat-ud Dawa — is free to contest elections.

Milli Muslim League, which draws support from Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s JUD, was denied permission months ago from contesting bypolls by the Election Commission, which has so far refused to recognize it as apolitical party+ .

Answering a question about US claims of links between the ISI and militants, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, director general Inter-Services Public Relations, said, “There’s a difference between support and having links. Name any intelligence agency which does not have links. Links can be positive, and the US defence secretary James Mattis did not say+ there was support. The narrative that I talked about is relevant here as well. We should not be a part of it. We have our own narrative.”

Mattis had said on Tuesday that the US would try “one more time” to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan before President Donald Trump would turn to options to address+ Islamabad’s alleged support for militant groups.

His comments likely caused concern in Islamabad, especially in light of General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believed ISI directorate, had ties to militant groups. “It’s clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” General Dunford said.
Addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi, Ghafoor said Pakistan’s eastern border is unsafe because of India’s “inappropriate reactions”. He said 222 Pakistani civilians were killed along the line of control this year in ceasefire violations, more than any other year before.

“But India has also paid a price with our response and we will continue to respond if it does not act with restraint,” Ghafoor said, describing the threats from India as perpetual. “We are a peaceful country and we do not want war with them, but we will defend ourselves and have the capability to do so…

War is not the solution, so we are talking to them at all levels to stop this,” he said. Ghafoor said Pakistan was facing a strategic threat on the western border as well, forcing the country to keep the Army on the border. “Our western border also meets Iran.

Our deployment is not against Iran or Afghanistan but against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other such non-state actors,” he said. When asked why a press release was not issued after Wednesday’s special corps commanders conference at Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ), he said, “Silence is also an expression.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-military-admits-isi-has-links-to-militants/articleshow/60964126.cms

October 6, 2017   No Comments

LJ militant killed in ‘encounter’, major acts of terrorism in city averted

Report in Dawn, October 6th, 2017
KARACHI: A suspected militant linked with the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, who was planning to carry out major acts of terrorism in the city, was gunned down in an ‘encounter’ with a joint team of police and Intelligence Bureau in Khwaja Ajmer Nagri in the early hours of Thursday. However, his two accomplices escaped, officials said.

The killed militant, Saad Surkhan, had provided a suicide jacket to the assassin of Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada two years ago, a senior official of IB told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

The killed suspect was twice arrested in Karachi but was released on bail.

“District Central police and Intelligence Bureau carried out a joint operation in Khwaja Ajmer Nagri and killed one terrorist linked with the LJ while his two accomplices fled,” said Karachi West Zone DIG Zulfiqar Larik.

Speaking at a press conference at his office, the senior officer said the IB had provided an intelligence report that some militants linked with the LJ’s Qari Sohail group were present in the area and were planning major acts of terrorism.

As a joint team of the IB and the police raided the hideout, the suspected militants resorted to firing and in the ensuing encounter, Saad was killed while his accomplices, identified as Maulvi Yunus, ‘emir’ of the LJ group, and ‘doctor’ Rehan escaped into the darkness.

Several hand grenades, six TT pistols, one rifle, three sets of walkie-talkies and other arms and ammunition were found in their custody.

Central SSP Irfan Baloch told the media that as per information of the IB, Sohail Qaiser, aka Qari Sohail, was a ‘commander’ of the LJ who had links with Al Qaeda. In 2015, Sohail Qaiser with his family members blew himself up during a police raid in Rawalpindi. Two policemen were also killed in the blast.

After Sohail Qaiser’s death, Saad Surkhan went into hiding and later on became ‘commander’ of the LJ in Karachi.

Involvement in Sindh, Punjab, KP killings: Mr Baloch said Saad, Sohail and other accomplices had carried out several acts of terrorism in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Central SSP said after killing of LJ chief Malik Ishaq in a police encounter in Punjab in Aug 2015, Maulvi Yunus became chief of the LJ faction and planned assassination of the then home minister of Punjab, Shuja Khanzada, in “revenge”. Yunus assigned this task to Sohail Qaiser and Saad.

“Saad provided an explosive-laden jacket in the Shadi Khan area of Rawalpindi where Shuja Khanzada was martyred in a suicide attack.” Apart from this, the LJ militant and his accomplices targeted policemen in Punjab after their leader, Malik Ishaq, was killed in the police encounter.

The Central SSP recalled that the killed militant was involved in the targeted killing of policeman in the Ibrahim Hyderi area of Karachi. Subsequently, he was arrested in the said case in 2010, went to jail but got released on bail.

Later, the LJ militant was arrested with his accomplices after an encounter by Rangers in 2012 but again he obtained bail.

He was also involved in the targeted killing of five people, including Kutchi Rabita Committee leader Rasheed Kutchi and two policemen, in Lyari in 2012.

In 2015, the killed militant with his accomplices attacked a caravan of the PML-N’s local leader in Haripur Javed Jadoon in which his six guards were killed but he remained unhurt.

Later on, Saad attacked and killed Javed Jadoon on the Haripur court premises on Dec 19, 2015. Subsequently, he fled the country.

Terrorism plot: The police claimed that they had information that Saad had come to Karachi on the instruction of his group’s chief to carry out acts of terrorism.

“They were planning targeted killing of policemen, important political personalities and kidnapping of Chinese nationals,” said the Central SSP. They had also planned targeted killing of members of the Shia community and attacks on Imambargahs after Muharram.

“We are thankful to the Intelligence Bureau, Sindh, with whose cooperation the terrorists were taken to task,” said the DIG West.https://www.dawn.com/news/1361993/lj-militant-killed-in-encounter-major-acts-of-terrorism-in-city-averted

October 6, 2017   No Comments

No room for the truth: op-ed

by I.A. Rehman in Dawn, October 5th, 2017

MUCH water has flown under the bridge, assuming that what flows into the Ravi these days is water, since Khawaja Asif began to be lambasted for speaking truthfully about some of the problems that involvement in the Afghanistan conflict has saddled Pakistan with. This is not surprising. Indeed, it only confirms Bulleh Shah’s axiom that when the truth is out, a commotion must follow.

What is surprising, and quite painful, is the fact that not many people have had the courage to speak in support of the foreign minister. Barring a couple of rational comments, the media overwhelmingly joined the chorus of calumny. While the minister’s party members chose to discover the virtues of silence, the opposition stalwarts jumped at the opportunity to play to the gallery. The Foreign Office’s clarification that the minister’s statement had been quoted out of context amounted to denying him credit for being honest.

The affair will sooner or later be superseded by another meaningless controversy. What should not be forgotten is the bitter reality that the habit of denial has found a permanent place in the minds of Pakistanis.

The terrible consequences of living in denial are well known. By denying a fact that is known to many, if not to everyone, you invite being called a knave or a liar, or both. Worse, persistent denial will more often than not convince you that the problem is not real. And you cannot try to solve a problem if you believe that it does not exist. Subsequently, you may become aware of your mistake, but by then, the issue might have become insolvable or the cost of setting matters right unaffordable.

This is also what has happened in the case of Balochistan. Persistent refusal to see the real causes of discontent in that province from the point of view of its people, and attempts to force the latter to sing patriotic songs under the shadow of bayonets, have made all parties sink deeper and deeper into despair. A fair settlement of Balochistan’s grievances that seemed possible 40 years ago has been made almost impossible by preferring falsehood to the truth.

There is, however, a need to take up with Khawaja Asif the question of the manner in which the truth, especially of the unwelcome variety, can be told most effectively. He is known for speaking in unnecessarily high tones and often off the cuff. This style won’t help him as foreign ministers are expected to be firm without appearing to be unreasonable. They should be able to convey the most bitter of messages after coating it with sugar. The reason is obvious: truth’s hardest blows will have no effect on those steeped in falsehood, whereas a persuasive rendering of the truth can at least make the other party reflect on what it has been told.

But where does a Pakistani politician acquire the art of speaking persuasively? Unfortunately, our party platforms have become notorious for being used only to abuse rivals, and our legislatures are rarely treated to insightful speeches that could command the respect of both friend and critic. It is difficult for anyone to pick up the finer points of parliamentary oratory if assembly proceedings are reduced to the glorification of one’s own labours and the demonisation of the other. It is necessary — not only for the pleasure of listening to a finely worded address but also for making democratic norms stronger — that parliamentary debates be made thematically richer and the scope of discussion extended to include whatever is relevant.

Maybe, the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services should do something in this regard. This useful institution has attracted notice with the latest issue of its periodical publication, Parliamentary Research Digest, for July-August 2017.

The slim newsletter tells us of an event described as parliamentary dialogue on ‘youth building peace’ held on Aug 8 this year. The participants included members of parliament, academics, diplomats and students from 25 universities and colleges from different parts of the country. Making our youth familiar with parliament’s working is a sound method of deepening democracy. In fact, there is much to be said for taking all students on the opening day of each academic year to a national or local hero’s monument, a democratic institution (from union council office to provincial assembly to parliament) and/or a historical/ anthropological museum. Children should start learning about their identity, their history and democratic governance as early in life as possible.

The next feature is a recollection of the proceedings of the constituent assembly of Pakistan on Aug 10, 11 and 12, 1947, including the Quaid’s historic address on being elected president of the assembly. This is followed by the report of a function held on Aug 10-11, 2017, to celebrate parliament as Pakistan turned 70. Finally, one finds a refreshing though preliminary paper on ‘gender-responsive budgeting’, a subject that is most relevant to Pakistan and yet very rarely discussed. The writer offers us useful examples of how the subject is addressed in Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India.

In a country where state institutions seldom win approval for their labours, this institution deserves to be commended. And that is why it is asked to develop as rich as possible a library of books, videos and films on parliamentary practices where our legislators could, individually and collectively, equip themselves with the means of making their debates livelier, informative and educative and thus advance the conventions of democracy more effectively. They will help make the truth more palatable and also establish a tradition of facing it squarely. https://www.dawn.com/news/1361777/no-room-for-the-truth

October 5, 2017   No Comments